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Microsoft: Outlook.com problems still not fully resolved

Microsoft is still having problems providing a subset of its Outlook.com users with access to their e-mail due to an unspecified issue that cropped up days ago.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

We're going into Day 2-plus of an Outlook.com outage which has resulted in some users not being able to get access their e-mail for the better part of this past week.


Just before noon on August 16, Microsoft switched the Live.com dashboard status claiming the Outlook.com issue was resolved to it's still not fully fixed.

"Fixing the problem is taking longer than we hoped. We'll provide an update by August 17 12:00 AM (EST)," according to the latest dashboard message. "We apologize for the lengthy interruption in service."

A spokesperson sent me the following statement when I asked for more information as to what's caused the issue this week:

"The (Outlook.com) issue has been resolved for the vast majority of our customers, but we are still working to restore full service in a few limited scenarios. We will provide more details and a post mortem soon, so that customers can learn what happened and how we resolved it."

Microsoft officials have said the problems this week have affected a small subset of the 400 million-plus Outlook.com users. Of course, if you're part of the group that has gone e-mailless for most of the week, it doesn't seem trivial. (I never lost access to my Outlook.com mail on my PC or my Windows Phone, but I have heard from -- via e-mail and Twitter -- quite a few others who have had problems on their desktops, iPhones, Windows Phones and other mobile devices.)

On August 14, Microsoft acknowledged that users were experiencing problems with several of its personal-cloud services, including Outlook.com, SkyDrive and Contacts. The SkyDrive and Contacts problems were resolved for the majority of users on August 14. Some users are still complaining they're still having problems accessing their Outlook.com mail on their PCs and mobile devices today, August 16.

Microsoft officials are still not commenting on what caused the Outlook.com and SkyDrive outages this week. If I were a betting woman, I'd think it might be the result of one of the many new Outlook.com features that the team has rolled out as of late....

Who out there -- new Outlook.com users and/or those who have moved from Hotmail.com to Outlook.com -- is still having issues? Anyone?

Update (August 17): The promised post-mortem on this week's outage is in.

The incident was the "result of a failure in a caching service that interfaces with devices using Exchange ActiveSync, including most smart phones," according to the team. More specifics are available on the live.com dashboard.

Microsoft is making changes to harden its systems against similar failures in the future, the team said, with specifics in the dashboard post.

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